A large loan and financial aid program, supported by the World Bank, the European Union and the Chinese government, to curb erosion in China's central and southwestern provinces has been launched.
Altogether 37 counties in the drainage areas of China's longest river, the Yangtze, and the third longest, the Pearl River, in Yunnan, Guizhou, Hubei and Chongqing, are expected to benefit from the 200-million-U.S.-dollar program, said Vice Minister of Water Resources Zhai Haohui on Wednesday.
Zhai said half of the fund was provided by the World Bank as a loan to the areas while the other half included grant-in-aid by the European Union and investment from the Chinese government.
It was the first time the three parties have cooperated to deal with China's ecological crisis, said David Dollar, head of World Bank China office.
The program, to run six years, will focus on a water and soil conservation project aiming to encourage the sustainable maintenance and use of the ecological environment, Dollar said.
About 3.56 million square kilometers of China's territory suffers from erosion, 37 percent of the total area, and accounts for 14.2 percent of the world total.